Roasted Honeynut squash topped with maple pecans is a delicious side dish that is perfect for your Thanksgiving table, but it is also easy enough for a weeknight meal.
These tiny Honeynut squash pack a punch of flavor and nutrition – quite a bit more than their larger counterparts. The flesh is a deeper orange than butternut, indicating a higher level of beta carotene, making them more nutrient-dense.
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Honeynut squash recipe
I snagged about a half dozen Honeynuts last week. I went back and forth on how I wanted to prepare them. But finally landed on a casserole of sorts, full of autumnal flavors, that would be perfect for Thanksgiving.
If you are unfamiliar with a Honeynut squash, they look like a miniature version of a butternut. They weigh in around one pound and they stand approximately 4 – 6 inches in height.
Most often, they are split in half and roasted as is, but I decided to thinly slice and fan them out so the edges would caramelize a bit and give it that luscious bit of texture.
Pecans simmered in maple syrup are drizzled over the top and then crumbles of fresh goat cheese are sprinkled over it. The Honeynut casserole is finished with fresh herbs for a bit of color and freshness. And, I must say, it is bang on.
This vegetarian side is easily made vegan by omitting the goat cheese or subbing a vegan cheese.
Roasted Honeynut squash
Honeynut squash are perfect for roasting, because the skin is edible. Technically, you do not have to peel it. You can slice them in half, remove the seeds and roast it.
However, I’d suggest you use your best judgement here. There is a difference between it being edible and being pleasant to eat. Delicata squash is quite nice, as is acorn squash. And, normally, so is Honeynut.
The skin on a couple of mine felt a bit thicker than usual, so I peeled them to be on the safe side.
How to prepare squash
Place the Honeynut on your cutting board and firmly hold in place while you slice the top and bottom off with your sharpest Chef’s knife.
Then use a vegetable peeler (if you choose to peel), I like my y peeler for this job, to remove just the outer skin. The skin is not as thick as other winter squash, so no need to go more than once on this for your roasted Honeynut squash.
Finally, cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. You can roast the seeds, so don’t toss them. Follow the method for roasted Hubbard squash seeds to see how easy it is.
Thinly slice the squash and place in your shallow casserole dish. I used a 10″ quiche pan that has 1 1/2 inch sides. Use whatever you have that is similar in size.
Drizzle olive oil over the sliced Honeynut, season with salt and pepper and slide it into the oven.
In restaurant kitchens, we never pour oil onto food out of a big bottle. As you can see in the photo, I use a squeeze bottle. The stream of oil is very small, allowing you to use less, while also allowing you to be more precise.
PRO TIP: Use a squeeze bottle to drizzle oil over the squash. It is much easier to control than a big bottle of olive oil. You’ll use less oil and you’ll get better coverage.
How to make maple pecan syrup
To top our roasted Honeynut squash, we’re making maple pecans, but in a lovely syrup for drizzling over the top. The goal is to thicken the syrup enough to give it a bit of stickiness, as real maple syrup can be quite thin.
First, toast the pecans in a dry pot. Then pour maple syrup over them. Bring to a boil and let the syrup thicken.
Be careful not to let it cook down too much – it can turn grainy, and you want to be able to drizzle the syrup over the squash. If it is too thick, the pecans will come out in clumps because they’ll be stuck together.
We want to soften the pecans and coat them with a sticky syrup, we’re not trying to make crunchy pecans that you would toss in a salad.
The maple pecan syrup is drizzled over the roasted Honey squash, then it goes back into the oven for a few minutes to allow the syrup to get a bit sticky on top. Soft goat cheese is crumbled over the whole thing while it’s warm, making the cheese almost melt.
Finish the dish with fresh herbs. I used parsley because that’s what I had. Thyme, marjoram or even chives would also be really nice here.
And there you have it – a super simple roasted Honeynut squash side dish that would be right at home on your Thanksgiving table, but is easy enough for a midweek dinner.
Thanksgiving side dishes
This Honeynut casserole will be making an appearance on our Thanksgiving table, as well as the tasty side dishes below.
- Classic bread stuffing – My grandmother’s recipe, with just a little fiddling from me.
- 5 ingredient corn casserole – Literally the easiest corn casserole recipe.
- Aligot – Mashed potatoes packed with cheese, they are so delicious.
- Roasted Hubbard squash – A beautiful side for your holiday table.
- Hubbard squash pasta with sage – A great vegetarian option.
- Sage onion rolls – This dinner rolls are full of flavor.
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- 4 Honeynut squash, split in half, seeded and thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp. goat cheese, crumbled
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C / Gas mark 4.
- Place sliced Honeynut squash into shallow dish. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 - 25 minutes, until tender.
- While squash is in the oven, make the maple pecan syrup: Heat a small sauce pot (1 qt. size) over medium heat. Add pecans and dry toast them for 5 - 6 minutes, until fragrant.
- Pour in maple syrup and let it come to a boil. Cook for 4 - 5 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat.
- Drizzle pecan maple syrup mixture over squash and return to the oven for an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove squash from oven and let cool slightly before sprinkling crumbles of goat cheese on top.
- Lastly, sprinkle chopped parsley, or other fresh herbs over the top to finish.
We are vegetable lovers in our house, so this serves 4. You could stretch this to 6 people if you are serving other sides in addition to the squash.
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Serving Size:1 squash
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 308Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 358mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 8gSugar: 17gProtein: 4g
Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.
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